2015 NFL Draft: New York Jets Potential Prospects from Penn State


Jan 21, 2015; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets new general manager Mike Maccagnan (left), owner Woody Johnson (center), and new head coach Todd Bowles (right) pose for a photo during a press conference at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com via USA TODAY Sports

Woody Johnson hired his scouting team and set out to bring in qualified candidates to run his organization going ahead. He brought us both GM Mike Maccagnan and HC Todd Bowles. They both have been hard at work, filling their staff and evaluating the current roster since being hired.

Mike Maccagnan made some changes in the much maligned Jets scouting department. Gone is long time Senior Director of College Scouting Terry Bradway and Director of College Scouting Jeff Bauer. A new regime is in place heading toward the 2015 NFL Draft.

Mike Maccagnan and his staff now have the job of revamping the roster of the New York Jets. Free Agency will play a key role in repairing some of the holes the 2014 team displayed. The Jets possess a surplus of cap space, and all signs point to them spending in free agency. How the Jets choose to spend their cap money will give us our first true insight into what type of general manager Mike Maccagnan will be.

The 2015 NFL Draft is slated to be held at a new venue, moving to Chicago on April 3oth.  As a Penn State fan, I’d like the Jets to take a look at some of the kids coming out of Penn State this year. Penn State had five players invited to the combine this year. So let’s take a look.

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Next: Mike Hull

Sep 6, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Mike Hull (43) during the second quarter against the Akron Zips at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Akron 21-3. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

Linebacker Mike Hull may turn out to be a late round gem in the making. He missed the Senior bowl with an aggravation to an earlier knee injury. Hull practiced, but the knee swelled. The fact that he practiced shows the type of competitor Hull is. Projected as a 5th or 6th round pick, injury concerns may drop him further back. Hull has the stuff to play in the NFL however. Hull is listed at 6’1/232 lbs, he’s played both ILB and MLB for the Lions, and enters the draft as a senior. He leaves Penn State as their leading tackler in 2014. Hull is a project, but the Jets are in need of depth at LB.  He’s a player of value the Jets might want to keep their eye on in the later rounds.

Next: Deion Barnes

Sep 14, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive end Deion Barnes (18) during the fourth quarter against the Central Florida Knights at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

Defensive End Deion Barnes may fit the bill for the Jets need for a pass rusher in the mid rounds. The 6’4″/255 lb Barnes leaves Penn State after posting 44 tackles, 12.5 for loss, and six sacks in his junior year. Barnes combine results and pro day results will determine where he winds up going in the draft. He’s not viewed among the top pass rushers in this year’s draft, but Barnes is an aggressive player against both the run and passing games. He’s a guy the Jets might want to keep an eye on during the process.

Next: Adrian Amos

Nov 2, 2013; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions safety Adrian Amos (4) during the third quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Illinois 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

Safety Adrian Amos is an interesting watch during the process this season. His college career with the Lions has been split between CB and Safety. His freshman year Amos played as a back up at CB and special teamer, breaking into a starting role for one game. His sophomore year brought him All Big Ten Honorable Mention honors after posting 44 tackles, 2.5 for loss and 3 interceptions. As a junior Amos moved to safety for the first time, playing Free Safety for six games and CB for six games, he posted 50 tackles, four for loss, 2.5 sacks and one interception. 2014 saw Amos exclusively at Free Safety, he responded with 42 tackles, 2.5 for loss and three interceptions.

Amos played as a shutdown type corner while playing for the Lions. At Free Safety he was seen as an enforcer in the Lions secondary. He’s a sure tackler and has the ball hawking skills to make for a productive free safety in the NFL. Amos is a versatile player and could be a player the Jets  target in the mid rounds. The Jets require a FS and depth at both safety and corner, and Amos is a player I think would fit both bills.

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Next: Donovan Smith

Nov 15, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions tackle Donovan Smith (76) during the second quarter against the Temple Owls at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Temple 30-13. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

Tackle Donovan Smith is another Penn State project that the Jets may want to watch during the combine. Smith measures in at an impressive 6’6″/ 341 lbs. Smith has played solidly for the Lions, he will need to improve his pass protections skills at the next level,  but he’s quick to the second level and shows explosiveness in his blocks. Smith again, is not seen as a top-level tackle, but as a mid round acquisition, he’d make for a very good project.

Next: Jesse James

Sep 6, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions tight end Jesse James (18) celebrates with Penn State Nittany Lions running back

Bill Belton

(1) after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Akron Zips at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Akron 21-3. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

Tight End Jesse James is a big 6’7″/254lb tight end entering the 2015 NFL Draft as a junior. I’ve seen him as high as a fourth round picks on some mocks, but I can tell you this kid has a lot of talent. After the combine I expect scouts will notice him, and it’s possible his stock will rise.  At a charity event before the 2014 season James was reported to have benched 225 lbs 27 times, and 12 reps of 495 lbs on the dead lift. An unofficial time of 4.60 in the 40 yard dash was also recorded. If the Jets have seen the last of Jeff Cumberland, as many suspect, James would be a great option.  His stats don’t speak to his talents, he’s a solid blocker and can be a huge target in the passing game as well.

There they are, the five players for that the Penn State Nittany Lions have being invited to the NFL Combine. Many of their stocks will rise and fall with their results from that event. Some may fit the bill as depth and potential starters for the Jets. Time will tell, but I think the Jets scouts should evaluate their fit for the Jets closely. Coming from the beleaguered Penn State program, they may be overlooked by some teams, but there is talent there. Will one become a Jet in 2015?

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